Gulf News: Is Dubai safe for real estate investors?
Khan: I think the escrow law is the greatest thing that happened for this market. It brought great regulation in. We come from a British background, so we know what planning is involved. We’re looking around for opportunities, but we’re happy with Dubai. With the regulations come a great deal of investments and a great deal of security with big institutions coming here with astronomical amounts of money. Dubai is still a new market, you can’t expect everything to be perfect.
Gulf News: How do you see Dubai as an investment base in the future?
Khan: To see it as an investment base, you first have to look at why people want to live in Dubai. The same reason I’m here. Now, I love London, but I came to Dubai and saw something different. I saw a lifestyle you can’t get anywhere else. The lifestyle here has the security and the family atmosphere. I fell in love with the place. Multiculturalism is so important, especially the way the world is right now, and Dubai is a non-integrated cosmopolitan city. It’s a wonderful experience. Dubai real estate market is just like a normal market but the yield is higher. From a business point of view, the yield in Dubai compared to anywhere else in the world is very, very good.
Gulf News: Do you think Dubai is more popular now in light of the problems affecting the US and the UK in particular?
Khan: Dubai has been referred to recently, in the press, as a credit crunch free zone. A lot of customers I know from the UK live here for six months and don’t pay tax. With the internet, you can run your business from anywhere. So people are working from here and not paying any taxes. Look at it this way, you can wake up even at 1 pm here and still be ahead of time back in the UK.
Gulf News: If you had to predict the future of Dubai’s property market, especially house prices, how would you describe it?
Khan: I did a feasibility study of places around the world and I went to some countries that some people haven’t heard of and I found property more expensive there than it is in Dubai. When I moved here a two-bedroom apartment was Dh 40,000 and now it’s well over Dh 100,000, but that’s world prices. We’re living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and it’s now getting to a standard and receiving what it’s worth.
An interview by Suzanne Fenton, Gulf News – August 17, 2008